Shortbread is one of those cookies that (if you’re anything like me) you grow up thinking of as a basic, boring cookie– one that will do in a pinch, but which can be abandoned at will in favor of something more exciting. Something with chocolate, or nuts, or really anything other than plain old shortbread.
I was so wrong.
A good shortbread is a masterpiece of simplicity, showcasing butter and sugar and (if you have it) really good vanilla extract. It can be easily made in a 1-2-3 ratio of sugar-butter-flour (by weight), and it keeps nicely for what seems like forever.
But you know me, I can never help but gild the lily. I do appreciate a plain shortbread now, I promise, but can you blame me for wanting to give people a little surprise when they bite into it? Enter the pink peppercorn. You may remember my using it in a raspberry-rose-peppercorn layer cake (which was excellent), but the first time I ever used it was in pink peppercorn shortbread, and that was when I fell in love. The floral spiciness is just unbeatable, and the simplicity of shortbread is ideal for showing it off.
I made these in a slice-and-bake format, rolling them into cylinders just over 1″ in diameter to get adorable little coins. I rolled the uncut cylinders in raw sugar for an extra crunch and touch of sweetness, and the finished cookies are perfectly poppable little bites with a subtle kick that people will go back for again and again. Though I hope not too often, because I want to keep some for my own snacks…
Pink Peppercorn Shortbread
- 6 oz. sugar
- 12 oz. butter, at room temperature
- 18 oz. all purpose flour
- 1 rounded teaspoon freshly ground/crushed pink peppercorns (I used a small mortar and pestle but you can use a coarse grinder)
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- (optional) raw sugar
- Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.
- Add flour, salt, and ground peppercorns, and stir until incorporated.
- Shape dough into cylinders and roll in raw sugar. You can spray the dough with water to help the sugar to stick, if you like.
- Wrap cylinders in parchment and freeze.
- When ready to bake, line baking sheets in parchment or foil, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slice cookies to 1/4″ thick and place on baking sheets about a 1 1/2″ apart.
- Bake until edges just start to turn golden.
- Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a rack.
- Store in an airtight container to preserve crunchiness.